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Koeman eyes Champions League spot

By ESPN Staff

Barca and Sevilla see benefits from abandoned match

MADRID, April 24 (Reuters) - Barcelona and Sevilla saw the positive side of Sunday's abandoned Primera Liga match as a chance to rest and avoid any injuries ahead of their respective European ties this week.

A heavy thunderstorm 45 minutes before kickoff in Seville rendered the pitch unplayable. After an hour's delay the pitch still had not absorbed the water so the referee called the match off.

The Catalans host AC Milan in the return leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday holding a 1-0 lead.

'I don't know if it was the correct decision or not but what I can say is that it was good to be able to conserve ourselves,' Barca coach Frank Rijkaard told a news conference after the decision.

'We had to a wait a long time before we knew what was happening though, and this wasn't very good.'

Barca's French winger Ludovic Giuly, who scored the goal in the semi-final first leg, told reporters: 'The rest will serve us well ahead of the Milan game.

'You couldn't have played on a pitch like that and everyone could see that. Some sections of the pitch were completely awash.'

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol added: 'Both teams had a lot to lose with a high risk of picking up injuries. As it is we both get the chance to rest.'

Sevilla are at home for the return leg of their UEFA Cup semi-final against Schalke 04 on Thursday after a goalless first leg.

Seville's Brazilian midfielder Adriano said: 'It was impossible and would have been dangerous to play.'

Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido added: 'We did what we could but there was a zone where the ball wouldn't roll and where the water was up to 10cm deep.

'Now all I am thinking about is Schalke and not when we can reschedule this game.'

Barca had already been denied the chance to wrap up the Spanish title when Valencia beat Athletic Bilbao 3-0 in an earlier match but their bid will be further delayed now that they have to fit in an extra match before the end of the season.